Composers and their stage works 

Everything in the Garden

Edward Albee.

Play 2-acts. From the play by Giles Cooper

Plymouth Theatre - Nov 29, 1967


There is a theme beneath the surface of this play, the corruption of money and the rottenness of a bigoted exurbia where conformity to its illiberal standards and its hypocritical show of respectability is all that counts.

The scene is the suburban home of Jenny and Richard. The only thing that seems to stand in the way of their happiness is a lack of money. The action starts in an entertaining comedy-of-manners style. Then, abruptly, there enters a Mrs Toothe in the menacing and fascinating person of Beatrice Straight who offers Jenny the opportunity to make more money than they have ever had, to buy a greenhouse and all the other luxuries that they require for their garden and their lives. Richard's realisation that their new-found money is being earned by his wife's whoring comes almost simultaneously with the return of their 14-year-old son from school and a champagne cocktail party which they are giving to impress their country club friends. As a result, his horror, disgust and rage has to be kept under wraps in order to keep up essential appearances until tragedy strikes, and Richard realises that the assembled wives are all involved and their husbands are aware and condoning. More than that, they are prepared not merely to justify but defend the ends through which their means are attained-and the devastated Richard, left in agonised despair by the ironic events which charge the final moments of the play, must face the fact of his own share in their communal guilt.